Bangor University Student Wins Special Award from Tilhill Forestry

A student from Bangor University has won a special award given in memory of Phil Johnson, a greatly celebrated Tilhill Forestry member of staff.

Ed Lewis who grew up in the wooded Welsh borders near Knighton, Powys, has recently won the Tilhill Forestry Phil Johnson Memorial Award for Best Silviculture Student 2018/19 on the MSc Silviculture module.

He was presented with a specially carved wooden trophy in the shape of an acorn by Tilhill Forestry Regional Manager Iwan Williams along with £250 prize money.

As part of the company’s work to strengthen links with students, Tilhill Forestry presents awards to top performing forestry students at leading universities offering degrees in Forestry. Tilhill Forestry also runs a popular graduate placement scheme.

Ed said: “It’s a real honour to win the award – and quite an unexpected achievement. I still very much consider myself an amateur when it comes to forestry but thankfully there are two more years for me to try and rectify this before the MSc is finished! 

“A large part of the module was an essay of my own choice. I decided to look at the impact of herbivory on silvicultural systems and potential mechanisms to mitigate this problem. It was great to dive into a specific topic matter and identify what forest practices are currently available to foresters in the field. 

“The University of Bangor has been incredibly supportive and welcoming in my studies, despite my studies being both part-time and run remotely for us distance learners. As one of the few places that still teaches forestry in the UK, it definitely feels like there is a real community spirit to our studies. 

“For my future plans, I currently still work in global nature conservation in Cambridge, but I’m increasingly looking to move into the UK-scale sphere of work, either with forestry or with environmental work more broadly.”

Iwan Williams, Regional Harvesting Manager for England and Wales added: “It was great to award the Phil Johnson Memorial Trophy to such a talented individual who is enthusiastic about the Forestry Industry. To undertake a long-distance Masters Degree while holding a demanding job is not easy which only goes to show Ed’s dedication to the industry.”

James Walmsley and Mark Rayment, Senior Lecturers in Forestry and MSC Course Directors at Bangor University added: “The prize is awarded to the top-performing student in the silviculture component of Bangor’s Forestry and forestry-related MSc programmes. This module is the only component common to all programmes and is completed by around 70 students globally each year. Students are assessed both on their technical silvicultural knowledge (through a 24-hour exam – simulating the all-too-familiar experience of report writing in the “real’ world!), as well as their deeper understanding of the role of silviculture in the changing world of forestry.

“Ed won the award on the basis of his consistent excellent work in the silviculture module, and is totally deserving of the Tilhill Forestry Phil Johnson Memorial Award for best Silviculture student”

Forestry has been taught at Bangor for more than 110 years, and its forestry degrees are accredited by the Institute of Chartered Foresters. Tilhill Forestry has a long association with Bangor University as many of its past and present employees have studied there, including graduates from the distance learning forestry programmes.

The award is dedicated to Phil Johnson who worked for Tilhill Forestry for many years and was Regional Manager for England and Wales when he passed away following a short but valiant battle against cancer four years ago. During his career he made a huge contribution to the company including setting up the UK’s largest privately owned mountain bike centre at Coed Llandegla, Wales.